Touring The World Of Architecture: Week 5

by | 31. Jan 2014

Article | News

By Jakob Harry Hybel

This week, Gehry to bring Bilbao effect to Berlin, no hope of rescuing the Folk, Herzog & de Meuron reveals pedestrian-friendly master plan and Google and LEGO join forces. Finally, a skilled animation spells some of the architecture greats.

As always, please get in touch and let us know about any news you feel is worthy of mention or at 


Top Story

Week-5-Gehry-Highrise-Berlin.jpgRendering © Gehry & Partners

Gehry to Revitalize Alexanderplatz With Residential Highrise

The large square in the former eastern sector of the German capital has long suffered with issues of scale. Flanked on all sides by massive shopping malls, multi-lane roads and train tracks, it is quite simply too large to sustain any form of public life. This is what the new Gehry-designed 150-meter (492-foot) residential highrise is supposed to change.

Frank Gehry’s name seems to have become synonymous with revitalization. Since his spectacularly extravagant Guggenheim Museum, city planners all around the world have been raving about “the Bilbao effect”. So does Berlin’s building director, Regula Lüscher, who welcomes the plans for what she calls “an extremely striking new landmark”.

The so-called Hines Tower, sponsored by American real estate firm Hines, will be the tallest residential block in Germany with 39 floors featuring 300 condominiums, restaurants, a hotel, a spa, and more. Whether it will in fact be able to invigorate Alexanderplatz and undo half a century of poor city planning remains to be seen.

More on the story here.


Another Story

Week-5-Diller-Scofidio-MoMA.jpg The new MoMA extension. Entrance. Image ©  Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Glenn Lowry on the Folk demolition: “The decision has been made”

The dust has yet to settle after a heated, highly emotional debate in the architectural community was sparked earlier this month by MoMA’s plans for an expansion that will require the demolition of the American Folk Art Museum. Elizabeth Diller, principal of Diller Scofidio + Renfro in charge of the controversial redesign, has defended herself on a number of occasions since then but has not managed to quiet the displeased voices.

This week, however, at yet another information meeting, Glenn Lowry, director of MoMA, made it abundantly clear that he feels there is nothing more to discuss. Although Cathleen McGuigan, editor of the Architectural Record, pleaded with him to “stop and reconsider,” Lowry stated that “the decision has been made”, adding “you don’t collect buildings and there is a reason for that”.

The decision might be final, but the debate will surely not stop there.


This Week’s Master Plan   

Week-5-Herzog-de-Meuron-Lyon-1.jpgLyon Confluence.  Image © Herzog & de Meuron

Extending the City Center of Lyon

Herzog & de Meuron’s master plan for phase two of the Lyon Confluence Project – an ambitious public-private initiative aimed at creating an extension of the city center by reclaiming a massive, post-industrial site on Lyon’s central peninsula – has just been revealed.

The 35-hectare (86-acre) project, designed with landscape architect Michel Desvigne, will create a dense district including a park and a mixed-use ‘market quarter’. The buildings will vary in height from three to 17 storys, and the infrastructure will predominantly consist of green, pedestrian-friendly links. Furthermore, three new bridges will be constructed to strengthen the connection to the surrounding city. Once completed, the district will provide over 2,000 apartments.

A team of six local and international emerging and established architects have been invited to design the eight buildings on the new site. Construction is expected to begin in 2015, with the first buildings to be completed by the end of 2017.

Learn more about the Lyon Confluence Project here.

Week-5-Herzog-de-Meuron-Lyon-2.jpgLyon Confluence. Image © Herzog & de Meuron


A Bit of Friday Fun

Chrome and LEGO Team Up to Launch Virtual Building App

When Google made SketchUp, they democratized 3D modeling by making software that was free, available and, most importantly, incredibly easy to use. From the time of its launch, it rose steadily in popularity, so you couldn’t help wonder what made them sell it back in 2012.

Now, there might be an explanation: Google wanted to make 3D modeling even easier.

Pairing up with toy brick manufacturer LEGO, they’ve just released a neat little app that allows you to build your model with LEGO bricks. Its integration with Google Maps allows you to choose an existing site to work from.

You can start building here. Have fun and play well.


This Week’s Video

The ABC of Architects

An alphabetical list of some of the world’s leading architects with their famous creations by architect Andrea Stinga of Ombú Architecture and graphic designer Federico González.

You have to admire the simplicity and elegance of this short, quirky animation – although the list doesn’t come anywhere close to being complete.